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Nevalainen S. (2006)
Attention and Program Knowledge in Visualising Roles of Variables
Licenciate Thesis, Department of Computer Science, University of Joensuu, Finland.
Abstract: One application area for visualisations in computer science is teaching of computer programming. So far, the effectiveness of these visualisations has been evaluated empirically mostly by measuring their long-term effects on learning programming, excluding possible short-term effects of visualisations and their relation to the long-term effects. In our research, we will study short-term effects when visualising the roles of variables with PlanAni program animator to novices learning programming. This thesis presents the research methodology and its evaluation, and describes the first of the experiments we will carry out during our research.
First, we conducted an experiment comparing the use of three eye tracking devices in the psychology of programming. On the basis of the results, we selected Tobii 1750 for measuring the eye movements in our research. Second, we analysed the replicability of Goods program summary analysis scheme. The investigation brought forth some problems, that are reported. Third, we studied how a person targets her visual attention, and what kind of a mental model she constructs concerning a computer program, when the program and especially its variables are presented using either a textual or a graphical program visualisation tool.
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Last updated: May 18, 2006